Millets are small-seeded cereals that retain excellent nutritional qualities. There are nearly 6,000 varieties of millet all over the world with various colors such as pale yellow, white, gray and red. In terms of nutritional property, they are superior to certain highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. Despite their prominent nutritional qualities, millets have received less attention than the major cereals. Millets play an important role in food security and economy of many countries in Africa and Asia. They are gaining prominence in Europe and North America due to their gluten-free and hypoglycemic properties.
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Millets Market: Drivers and Restraints
Demand for food is rising with the growth in population. Thus, the pressure on water resources is also increasing. Different plant species have qualities of improved utilization of water resources. Increase in efficiency of water use in production of millets is predicted to drive the millets market during the next few years. Millets have a limited shelf life. This factor is estimated to hamper the market growth. However, the gluten-free property is expected to provide lucrative opportunities for the production of gluten-free and low GI food products.
Pearl millet adapts well to hot climates and is also resistant to drought conditions. It grows well compared to any other cereal in hot and dry regions. Pearl millet yields well on sandy soils where most other crops fail. Pearl millet is the major millet grown in Africa. It is also the fourth most significant food crop/cereal grown in India.
Proso millet is primarily suitable to a dry continental climate than most other millets. Also known as the common millet, it exhibits the lowest water necessity. Proso millet is predominantly cultivated in Eastern Asia, including Japan, India, Mongolia, and Manchuria; and eastern and central Russia.
Kodo millet is grown commercially in India; however, it is an extensive tropical weed. This cereal crop is often grown on poor soils and is drought resistant.
Porridge and steam cooked products have been some of the major traditionally cooked products from millets. These are primarily consumed in different parts of India and Africa. Porridge is the commonly prepared food from millets. Countries, where sorghum and other millets are cultivated, generally consume stiff/thick porridges. In India, fermented millet flour is steam cooked to make kudumu. Sorghum millet batter, which is wet-milled and mixed with black gram batter, is fermented overnight and transferred into molds. It is then steam cooked to make idlis. Other traditionally made fermented breads in India include dosa, massa, injera, kisra, and galettes. Malted millets have been extensively used in Africa to make various non-alcoholic and alcoholic fermented beverages for centuries.
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Millets Market: Region-wise Outlook
Based on geography, the global millets market can segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. All types of millets are generally cultivated in Africa, India, and China. In Asia, India is the key producer of pearl millet, which is primarily grown in north-western parts of the country. Nepal and Bhutan are also the major millet producing countries in Asia. However, China predominantly produces foxtail millet.